The Tears of a Clown

Now if there's a smile upon my face…

Canada ’08: It’s Hockey Time!

It’s Hockey Time!

I feel fortunate to be in British Columbia now that the hockey season is upon us. It seems (and is) only days ago that I was lounging by the pool in 25C temperatures, now the Weather Channel is now predicting snow for tomorrow. Fall is a fairly dynamic concept in this part of the world!

As I write, a new theme for that great bastion of Canadianism, Hockey Night in Canada it about to be chosen imminently. The familiar original music that was a clarion call to the whole of Canada every Saturday evening during the Winter months has copyright issues surrounding it and can sadly no longer be used. Things change, but it seems a shame to lose this little Canadian institution.

I was watching a little pre-season hockey on the TV and was rewarded greatly by a terrific game between Detroit Redwings and my own favoured sons, The Montreal Canadiens. A few fresh faces being iced by both teams saw an extremely fast run-and-gun type of game that was hugely entertaining. Happily (for me) after two goals each in regular time the Les Habitants ran out winners in a knife-edged shoot-out with some well taken strikes by both teams. Viva le Blau, Blanc et Rouge.

Here in Kelowna a lot of the NHL interest is in the Vancouver Canucks, the nearest franchise to the Okanagan at around four and a half hours drive away. It’s from Vancouver too that a curious story is being reported in the local media of

Roberto Lunogo holds on to another puck

Roberto Luongo holds on to another puck

late. It concerns one Roberto Luongo, the Canucks’ ace goalie being appointed captain of the team. It’s been fifty long years since Bill Durnan performed the same role for Montreal in 1947/8. At that time Durnan would reportedly leave his crease regularly to talk to the officials in his capacity as team leader. This caused the league to introduce a new rule that prohibits a goal tender from acting as captain or alternate captain on the ice, or wearing a ‘C’ on his jersey.

The Canucks were being seen as teasing NHL bosses a little when Luongo appeared in a pre-season game against Anaheim with the ‘C’ not on his jersey but on the lower part of his helmet that protects his throat. When asked if the C stood for Captain, Vancouver boss Mike Gillis countered ‘it can stand for whatever he wants it to stand for’ presumably meaning that it may stand for Canucks as opposed to Captain.

Though it sounds a trivial matter, and is in some ways, the NHL bosses harbour concerns that allowing a goaltender to carry out a captain’s duties and obligations on-ice will offer a team unscheduled and unfair time-outs. At this time, stellar goalie Luongo is not allowed to discuss calls with officials. This however surely calls into question how effective he can truly be as the leader of the Canucks.


October 7, 2008 Posted by | On The Road | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Vancouver

Vancouver is one of my very favourite places in the world. Certainly,the nicest new-world city of my experience.It’s no coincidence that the city finds itself regularly voted among the most attractive cities in the globe. With its enviable situation by the ocean and mountainous backdrop, it’s striking appearance is easily recognised the world over.

From the delightful Granville Island, along Robson Street to the jewel in Vancouver’s crown, Stanley Park, it’s a truly spectacular city. Here are few corners of it that have found favour with me on my visits.

Somewhere to stay… Allow me to let you into one of the cities best-kept little secrets, The Sylvia Hotel on English Bay. Something of an institution in the city, the Sylvia is by no means the most luxurious or well fitted of hotels, particularly by North American standards but its great advantage is in its location. Sat a few yards away from the waters of English Bay and adjacent the magnificent Stanley Park, Robson Street. Downtown is but a short walk away too. Directly across a quiet road outside the hotel are lawns and the beach. The nearby seawall is ideal for strolling, cycling, rollerblading etc. Especially that holiday morning constitutional which is great for people watching The hotel has an attractive lounge with large windows, ideal for enjoying a ‘sundowner’, watching the sun set over the water. Prices at the Sylvia are always competitive, particularly for a downtown location.


The Sylvia Hotel

English Bay

Somewhere to eat…

The Boathouse Restaurant 8331 River Road 604-273-7014 (seafood) A series of five restaurants and it’s the Richmond version near Vancouver International Airport that I refer to here. The choice in this predominantly seafood restaurant is immense and after several visits I couldn’t fault anything I tried. The atmosphere is lively though there are plenty of quieter areas to get away from the main crowd. An ideal choice when flying into Vancouver and wanting some great food sooner rather than later after your journey.

The Boathouse

Tojo’s Restaurant 202 – 777 W. Broadway, Vancouver (604) 872-8050/51 (Japanese) In something of an unassuming location tucked away in a second floor office building on a commercial street in Vancouver, Tojo’s offers great views over the city from it’s vantage point on W. Broadway.

Perhaps the first thing one notices is the huge collection of signed photographs of well-known visitors, the restaurant attracts adorning the walls. Tojo’s is something of an institution and this reflected in it’s clientele. The food is fabulous – this really is the place to try something different. In some reviews I’ve heard of a rather ‘businesslike’ attitude from the staff but this was not my experience. If you ever get to try Japanese food just the once try it here, you’ll be hooked forever!


Seasons in the Park Hilltop Bistro, Queen Elizabeth Park

A really classy and genteel place to eat yet not in the least uncomfortable or starchy in its atmosphere. Huge windows offer a memorable panoramic view over the city of Vancouver. The restaurant sits in the beautiful Queen Elizabeth Park which features grounds crafted and landscaped from former quarries. The park is a triumph and so is the restaurant. Slightly expensive by Canadian prices but perhaps still less than one would pay in the UK for comparative fare and surroundings.

The bistro is known for the summit dinner held there by Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, their signed thank you letters for the restaurants hospitality are displayed proudly on the wall. A truly memorable visit for the Vancouver visitor.

View from the Seasons Hilltop Bistro

November 23, 2007 Posted by | On The Road | , , | 4 Comments